Another chapter of my life is about to begin. I walk away from a chapter that has been closing for three years. Severe illness, job loss, and the end of a marriage that never should have been, have brought me here. After eight years as a homeowner, my house went under-contract after three days on the market. I am spliting the proceeds with my husband. The house is in my name, but is ours financially and was as a home when he moved out. My illness caused the loss of my job and made it impossible for my husband to continue working his hectic schedule. He is paid hourly and lost many, many hours overtime. We fell further and further into debt. And here we are.

So this new chapter… I’m trying to find a three bedroom apartment in the same neighborhood as we currently live. I don’t want my kids to have to move school. They have been through so much in the last couple of years. We are currently in a four-bedroom house. The four of us have our own room each. Due to the ages, genders, and personality issues of us, I suppose I will have to sleep on a pull out sofa in the living room. And how will we get used to living in such close quarters. As it is, in our large house, the kids kill each other, and drive me crazy. How will it be with one floor instead of three? With all the three bedrooms off the living room? No backyard? I know many people in this city live in similar and more cramped circumstances. I am no better or worse than any of them.

I suppose I assumed, like many others, that my financial state would improve over time, or at least stay stagnant. I have a Masters degree God dammit. This isn’t supposed to happen. I had a good job, with great benefits. But I do deserve this. Through many poor decisions I have taken in my life. Some screaming at me to stop or start. Others that I genuinely was unsure what to do. I am forty-one years of age. I have already lived enough to be able to look back at my life, mostly with regret and disppointment. I didn’t do it ‘right’. I want a do-over. No one gets a do-over. What would/could I have done differently with the information I had at the time.

My alcoholism. I knew I was the one amongst my friends, who drank the most, who acted the craziest, and would go for weeks at a time without a break. I judged people ten years older than me who drank as I did. I would grow out of it. My logical brain should have kicked in. It should have helped me stop. I should have. I didn’t. I should have found a therapist sooner. One that I clicked with. I didn’t get on well with my first. I believe she was skilled, a pleasant person, but our personalities were different. There was no humor. That may not be a requirement for some, but for me, humor is the may way I click with people.

What led me to severe depression? From my vast personal experience, my friendships with many, many sufferers, and discussions with professionals, I believe it would have come at some point anyway. My brain is wired incorrectly. Maybe if some ‘bad’ things hadn’t happened, it wouldn’t have been so severe. My brain was waiting for the shit to hit the fan. And it did. Some straw became the last. I think it was pnuemonia twice within one month, each one requiring hospitalization. Sounds infintesimal. Minor nuisences. Last straws. I can’t remember either hospitalization, and within a month was hospitalized for mental health reasons. I’ve no idea how much, if any, was my fault.

What might the future hold? How much control have I? Real or imagined? How will I walk the line of being strict enough to instill a sense of displine in them? To be relaxed enough to allow us all to enjoy life, and love being together, trusting each other? Obviously this would not be a 24-7 goal! To let them make their own mistakes without running to me for help, so they can build themselves into strong self-sufficient beings? To create a family where everyone is heard? A home, of people, where they will want to return to for holidays, instead of feeling obliged to? Can I do all this while working? In a job I like? Be paid enough to live? Enjoy things with and without my chidren? Become stronger inside? Allow myself time to weep if needed? Experience the entire range of emotions?

I want the day to come when we move. That first evening when we sit together and watch a movie or play a board game. When I put on a brave-face, which will likely be fiegned. To upsell our new home to my children. To try not to dwell on the fraction of size this place has. To the fact mommy is on the couch. That everything has changed. I will do my best to show them that everything is okay. Just another step in life. That we’re still a family. That we’re all togther.

That’s a tough one. Or twenty.

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